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Decorative image - a header for the Solvaa blog post "Mastering Meeting Efficiency: How Automation Can Make Meetings Better"
Meetings. A vital yet often frustrating feature in the landscape of business. Not many people look forward to meetings (there’s a reason that “This could have been an email” is now a phrase so viral you can find it on mugs, t-shirts and more), and even fewer enjoy preparing for meetings. So, how can we make meetings better? With the power of automation, you can significantly reduce the time and effort spent on meeting preparation while ensuring that everyone stays on track and engaged. In this guide, we’ll explore how you can leverage automation to streamline your meeting processes and maximise productivity.

 

Why automate meeting organisation and preparation?

Automating meeting administration not only makes the organiser’s life easier, it benefits everyone in the meeting. Here are 3 examples of how automation can make meetings better:

 

  1. Reducing ‘No-Shows’ with Automated Reminder Emails: One of the biggest challenges in meeting management is ensuring attendance. Automated reminder emails can help mitigate the risk of no-shows by sending timely reminders to all participants before the meeting. By setting up automated reminders, you can significantly decrease the likelihood of missed meetings and improve overall attendance rates.

     

  2. Create and share agendas ahead of time: Creating agendas is time-consuming and rarely at the top of anyone’s to-do list. On the flip side, sharing a clear agenda ahead of a meeting gives everyone a chance to prepare and gather their thoughts. This creates a more inclusive environment for neurodivergent team members, who may need more time to process auditory information. It allows everyone to come to the meeting ready with their thoughts and ideas, leading to more productive discussions and outcomes. Automation can simplify this process by generating agenda documents based on predefined templates and sharing the agenda ahead of the meeting. All the benefits of a well-prepared team without the hassle of manually creating an agenda and emailing it out to everyone. Win-win!

     

  3. Assign preparation tasks to team members: Not every task can or should be automated, some require a human touch. That doesn’t mean that automation can’t help. You can use automation to create tasks in project management or to-do apps to ask teammates to prepare materials, presentations or data for meetings. If you have a human note-taker in your meetings, use automation to create a ’round robin’ task where different team members are assigned the task each week so it’s shared fairly across the team.

     

If these examples have whetted your appetite for automating your meetings, read on to learn how you can identify and implement your own time-saving, meeting turbo-charging automations.
Decorative image for blog post "Mastering Meeting Efficiency: How Automation Can Make Meetings Better"

How to use automation to make your meetings better

It can be tricky to know where to start with automations, especially with more ‘traditional’ tasks, processes that are often universal across companies. Follow the steps below to sniff out meeting preparation tasks that are ripe for automation and put your thoughts into action.

 

List all of the meeting processes

Before automating your meetings, it’s essential to list all the tasks involved. What needs to happen? When does it need to happen? Who needs to do it? This could be identifying a date for the meeting, creating and circulating an agenda, assigning a note-taker, inviting external attendees, finding a location if it’s an in-person meeting, etc.

 

Identify Automation Opportunities

Once you have a comprehensive list of meeting tasks, identify which ones can be automated. Tasks such as sending reminder emails and generating agenda documents are prime candidates for automation. Repetitive tasks that involve a lot of copying and pasting information or need to happen at regular intervals (eg once a month) are ripe for automation. If something requires human input, consider using automation to remind them (or yourself) to do the task.

 

Build your automations

While tools like Zapier are invaluable for building automated workflows, don’t forget that many apps now have built-in features that can save you time. For example, Google Calendar’s “Appointment Schedules” and Microsoft Outlook’s “Book with me” allow you to create links where people can schedule time with you, without needing to go through the back and forth of finding a mutually agreeable time.

 

Creating meeting-prep automations is easy using the “Event Start” trigger for Google Calendar and the “Calendar Event Start” trigger for MS Outlook. With this, you can set up a workflow that will trigger a set time before the event. For example, sending an email the day before a meeting to remind people that it’s happening.

 

If you’re creating an agenda for a meeting and need to add items over time, Digest by Zapier is your friend. It allows you to add items to a list, and when you’re ready you can grab all of the information in your digest to add to a document. With digest, you can create an agenda on your own, or collaboratively, using email, Slack, a form, or the Zapier Chrome extension to add items to the digest, which you can use to create your meeting agenda.

 

Finally, Integrating Zapier with productivity tools you already use, like Trello, Asana, Pipedrive or Slack will allow you to streamline task assignment and communication.

 

Summary

Automating meeting preparation tasks, saves time and makes your meetings more productive and efficient. With the right tools and strategies in place, you can streamline your meeting processes and focus on driving meaningful outcomes for your organisation.
Automation will never replace meetings, but it can make them a heck of a lot better.

Reduce your overwhelm with our automation training programme

And finally, if you’re really keen to reduce your overwhelmand  transform your business using automation, then visit the Solvaa Automation Academy. Our signature training programme, ‘Simple Automation Blueprint: Zero to Hero’ is aimed at anyone who wants to learn the fundamentals of business process automation from the experts – a sure-fire way to recession-proof your business.

It’s a course with on-demand videos, templates, and resources. And it’s more than just a Zapier course (although we do show you how to use Zapier like a pro) as you’ll learn about Process Mapping, Business Process Improvement and Business Process Management too – principles that can be applied to other areas of business too!

Whether you are a complete novice or have been using Zapier for a while, our programme is for you. It’s perfect for individuals and teams in micro, small and medium-sized businesses, including solopreneurs, consultants and freelancers. You’ll have access to our experts and can participate in live calls where you can ask all your burning questions, as well as hands-on workshops to keep you on track with implementing your new skills. We run regular cohorts so there will be an opportunity for everyone to participate.

Our head trainer, Kelly Goss, is a specialist in business systems, process improvement and automation, and one of less than 100 Zapier Certified Experts in the world. Kelly has many years’ experience in optimising systems and processes, and implementing automations for clients and is now passing on her knowledge to students through our trademarked ‘4-Step Solvaa Automation Methodology®‘. 

Find out more via our dedicated Solvaa Automation Academy website.

Read more about how our certified experts use Zapier workflow automations to simplify processes and increase efficiency.

Solvaa is a process and automation consultancy specialising in improving sales, operations and financial administration workflows. We help you to simplify and streamline existing processes, integrate your business tools to make data transfer more efficient and automate manual tasks to increase productivity. We are Zapier Certified Experts, Pipedrive Certified Experts and Xero Certified Advisors. 

Contact us today to discuss how Solvaa can help you simplify, improve and automate all aspects of your business with Zapier to save you time, reduce costs and keep you agile as you grow.

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